Newbie here on first Box implementation. I am trying to weigh the pros and cons of providing access through collaboration vs a shared link. It seems to me, from the end user's perspective that collaborating with the role of Previewer would be the same experience as receiving a shared link that is read-only.
As the manager of our Box implementation, I lean towards collaboration so that all who enter must have a Box account and I can see who has accessed the site (tighter governance). Others on my team lean towards just sharing links.
I would be interested in hearing other people's opinions or experiences with this question.
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The simple answer is that there is no simple answer, at least no blanket, universal truth to be found. Yes, inviting someone as a collaborator will give you a tighter audit trail because it requires the person to have a Box account. In some cases that is a drawback. It depends on your external collaborator base. It depends on the sensitivity of your data and the granularity of controls you'd like to put in place. It depends on your Box contract. A lot of external collaborators may cost you more.
Even if your contract will allow you unlimited external collaborators, you'll want to put some access lifecycle practices in place. At this time, external collaborators cannot be managed by Box groups. So you'd want to have a good way to track what each external collaborator has access to so they can be removed when they leave their company or role.
Don't think I'm favoring shared links. They are perfect for some things, but problematic for others. If you give many users access through an open shared link and one of them leaves, the only way you can limit their access is to change the password (for everyone) assuming you set one.
So these are some things to consider. Without knowing your spectrum of needs it's difficult to make a specific recommendation. I recommend looking through the folder settings to see what additional access controls you can engage with both collaboration and shared links. That might help.
Bob, I have another question along this train of thought. If we allow sharing, I have no way of knowing if content was shared with people who it shouldn't have, isn't that correct?
Well, yes and no. If it is an open shared link you will still get access stats, including IP addresses, but since it does not require login, it could be anyone. A URL can be forwarded around, without a doubt. Even if you password protect it, that can be forwarded as well. I do like the idea, I don't know if it was earlier in this thread or elsewhere, of using the embed widget in a webpage you host and using access controls to the page to monitor access. It depends on your business need and your IT resources.